Thursday, March 5, 1998
Esfand 14, 1376
Faraj Sarkuhi thanks supporters
Letter to International PEN - A world association of writers
March 2, 1998
PEN American Center
PEN Swedish Center
PEN Canada Center
I am honored by the honorary membership of P.E.N. As a member of your esteemed institute, I like to mention that when in prison, I was not aware of all the world-wide efforts to protect me, to secure my release, to defend the right of Iranian writer, and freedom of expression in Iran. Since the news of these efforts were not covered by the public media in Iran, I still know very little about it.
I take the liberty of asking PEN to send this letter of my sincere appreciation and thanks to all the individuals and organizations who took part in this campaign. I also appreciate if this letter is given to the mass media, who can offer my thanks to the public. I will be indebted to your organization for this great favor.
A beautiful and promising manifestation of solidarity and consensus by those who value freedom of expression, thought, cultural creativeness, and human dignity has been evident in the world-wide outcry against repression of those writer, including me, who during last decade, and specially after the publication of anti-censorship declaration of 134 Iranian writers in 1994 experience hardship in Iran.
I definitely owe my life and my release from prison to the efforts of many individuals, organizations, institutions, and public media, specially different branches of PEN.
I like to take this occasion to express my deepest gratitude to the public, and all of those organizations, newspapers, periodicals, and human rights organizations, as well as great writers, journalists, and all humanists and writers of my own country, who together were instrumental in my release from prison and defended freedom of expression and thought, cultural development of human society, and creative exchange of thought between diverse cultures.
Since I do not know the name of all those who contribute to this campaign I express my general thanks to all individuals. These efforts not only saved my life but brought to the attention of the world the difficult condition of the environment in which the Iranian writers and intellectuals live and write.
In my case it was the human conscience which saved the life of a writer whose sole crime was to express his views, to believe in magical strength inherent in all words, and finally to talk about the voices which were not allowed to be heard.
After experiencing a very difficult time in recent years, I was sentenced to one year of prison on the charges of propaganda against Islamic Republic of Iran. Thank to the efforts of those I mentioned above, I have been eventually released.
However, my situation is not clear yet. I have no passport and cannot travel aboard. I do not know whether my works will be allowed to be published in Iran or not. But like any other writer, I live with the hope to see a day when every human being can express his opines and ideas freely without fear of reprisal. This is the only way for the flourishment of human culture.
In the end, it is my greatest desire to be able to express my sincere thanks some day in person. Until then, if ever, I hope this letter will be accepted from me as my expression of gratitude and congratulation.
* The Sarkuhi Case - News and views from detention to freedom
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